On a new episode of Southern Fried Asian, Keith talks to documentary short filmmaker Rita Phetmixay about growing up Lao Isaan American in North Carolina.
Rita shares the story of her family’s harrowing journey after the war from Laos and Thailand to the States (2:00) and being one of the only Lao American families in rural North Carolina (11:00). She explains why she decided to make a short film about her father called Phetmixay Means Fighter and the story behind her family name (16:00). She also explains how her Asian American identity was always created for her when she lived in North Carolina (21:45). Then, Keith and Rita try to unpack what it even means to be “Asian American” (30:00) and especially Asian American in the South (38:45). Finally, Rita reminisces about incorporating Lao style chicken wings and Thai iced tea in her parents’ pizza and sub shop in Asheboro, North Carolina (45:00).